(This is part 3 of a 3 part series, so if you haven’t read or listened to parts 1 & 2, please do that before you read or listen to this one–unless you really don’t care whether any of this makes sense to you.)
When we left our story of chaos and reorganization a few days ago, I’d just revealed the exciting answer to this question:
Why, in a universe that is irrevocably falling apart, do some things (including you) become more complex, more ordered? How, in such a universe, could something as complex as life develop?
Then I told you all about dissipative structures–open systems that grow and evolve in response to their environement. This was so fascinating to everyone in the blogosphere that thousands of blogs instantly linked to this one. (And then I woke up.)
At any rate, let’s continue our story because I want to explain something closer to home: How all of this affects your life, at the most practical level.
Here, then, is the second Big Question: Why do we fight this process of chaos and reorganization (you do, you know)? Why is this fight unnecessary–and, does it really cause most of your suffering ? (Yes, it does.)
Last time, in Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Part 1 (please read or listen to Part 1 first, before reading or listening to this post), after describing how everything in the universe is in the process of falling apart, I ended by posing what I called The Big Question:
How, in a universe irrevocably moving toward increased disorder, did something as complex and organized as life develop? Why do some things become more ordered?
How, indeed. This is an incredibly important question. You wouldn’t be here if SOMETHING had not happened to counteract all that entropy.
Despite the evil Mr. Entropy, here’s what happened, beginning eons ago:
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Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Chaotic inside?
Me, too. Everyone feels this way at times. Is this just bad luck? Crappy planning on the part of the universe? Or does overwhelm–that feeling that you might fall apart–play a positive role in life?
I’ve been thinking lately about the key ideas that have shaped my thinking. One is the principle of chaos and reorganization–a description of how complex systems, such as human beings, develop and change. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve heard me say many times that we’re all caught in a giant matrix of cause and effect over which we have minimal control. The principle of chaos and reorganization is an elegant explanation of how that matrix of cause and effect–which ultimately includes everything in the universe–evolves.
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I’m posting this comment about my last post, and my response, as a post of its own, and as a FINAL way of dealing with the recent wave of people who don’t like my opinions about magical thinking and so forth. Take it or leave it, folks. If this doesn’t do it, I’m done with this
I thought this question in response to my last post was significant enough that it deserved its own post. I think you’ll find it very thought-provoking.
Are the events of life random? Do we live in a stupid universe or is someone watching over us? Or, do we create our own reality? How responsible are we? What, then, is karma? Are we just paying for our sins in this life?
Good grief. Why do people ask me these things?!
You said we live in a giant matrix of cause and effect. In a previous blog post you made a passing reference to “random” events.
My question is this, do you believe the popular, overused saying, “There are no accidents?” Or do you believe, as you have seemed to indicate a couple of times, that things can happen randomly?
I straddle both the eastern and western world views at times so I grapple with this question often. I’ve personally witnessed that outward circumstances can change when you’ve healed elements in your own consciousness, so it would seem to point to the idea that it’s all just done with mirrors.
Do you agree w/what all the New Age gurus say–that you create your own reality? Most of these teachings evolved from New Thought, and I’ve been involved in a New Thought practice for several decades. Because of my training, I’ve endlessly taken responsibility for my lot and worked hard to change myself to overcome it. I’ve struggled long and hard with this as I have a “reality” I’ve not wanted for a long time and I’ve worked endlessly on myself to effect a shift in my experience. I’m still working and still stuck.
So the question of karma comes in. Am I just doing penance for past mistakes in other lives? Will no amount of work or awareness or witnessing my internal processes eradicate a debt that predates this life?
How do you reconcile the spiritual seeker’s yearning for “no self” with the equally sought-after desire for a psychologically healthy ego? Are these seeming opposites compatible? If so, how? Is one better than the other?
Since someone taking the second course of my Life Principles Integration Process online courses (which is about such spiritual matters) asked me…here’s my answer:
Lesson 1 brought up for me 2 topics I’ve struggled with for awhile. The first is how do you reconcile a spiritual “no self” with a “psychologically healthy “strong I.” In other words if you truly see all as one, and practice no resistance (or as you call letting whatever happens be ok) how do you at the same time set boundaries and no longer allow “unhealthy people, things in your space” because by definition in doing that you are playing the duality game.
The 2nd is how do you reconcile – trying to control the game and therefore get the outcomes you want with the co-creative process with spirit. Isn’t there a bigger picture or a higher self that might have a different agenda than what our ego thinks it wants at the moment? So how do you play with the energies and when do you try for outcomes and when do you “let go and let god”.
You’ve asked a key and fundamental question.
Two letters about some key aspects of the human condition, and my answers:
In this first letter, is it just my silly positive thinking, or do I have something else in mind when I ask this man to make a list of the benefits of losing his job? You decide.
You suggested that I make a list of the benefits of having lost my job. I think that is a crazy thing to do and I very much resent the idea of positive thinking. In fact, to me positive thinkers are just deluded fools who don’t have the guts to face the inevitability of death. Sooner or later, the sun is going to blow up and all living things, whether they have perfect abs or not, will be reduced to ashes. What I don’t get is why, while this is all coming my way like a truck barreling down the highway, I have to live and eat and have a family and buy a new air conditioner. I think you are asking me to play Scrabble while I am on a train that goes somewhere I don’t want to be, as though it could possibly help me enjoy the ride and divert my attention from what is really going on.
Dear friends, Unfortunately, this blog has devolved into a chat room for a few people about magical thinking and other topics I really don’t want on this blog. I am, therefore, going to become much more strict about which posts I approve. If you want to comment on or ask questions about something I say in
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A few words about that elusive “oneness” so many people seek:
I’m often asked why we don’t feel the feeling of “oneness” with everything spoken about in certain religions. Why do we feel separate? Let’s take a look at this fascinating question.
Human beings are wired to navigate life by making distinctions. If you couldn’t make distinctions you wouldn’t know what to eat. You wouldn’t know what’s good for you or what might harm you. You wouldn’t be able to recognize your friends. You wouldn’t know whether you were too hot or too cold. You wouldn’t be able to make choices, or learn from experience.
As I once heard Alan Watts say, to be a human being you need to be able to tell chalk from cheese.
Boy, do I get some good letters. Here’s another one, with my answer.
I’m interested in understanding better why people in general can know that a certain way of life is good for them but continue on a course that isn’t. For example, smoking or being overweight. There is as much information available as we’d care to read on both topics, but people continue to do what is not good. Are they all “unconscious incompetents” even though they cognitively know what they are doing is not good for them. I haven’t smoked in many years but have just lost some weight and want to keep it off permanently. I “believe” being at this weight is good for me. What beliefs do I need to be aware of and guard against to stay at this healthy weight. How do I reach “unconscious competence” on this issue?
You’ve hit on precisely why becoming more aware provides a solution to every human problem that has a solution (some don’t). People do most of what they do OUTSIDE their awareness, which means they do it automatically. What you do with awareness, though, you have a choice about. Awareness creates choice, and what I teach is largely about how to direct your awareness to what YOU DO inside your head that creates:
1) how you feel and the other internal states you experience,
2) how you behave,
3) which people and situations you attract or become attracted to, and
4) what the events around you seem to mean.
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